If you’re a musician, recording your music might be one of your dreams. While a recording studio is ideal, you might rule it out for different reasons. Maybe it’s expensive, or maybe it’s far from home. Maybe a studio makes you nervous. Whatever your reasons are, it’s okay. You can record in the comforts of your own home.
Technology nowadays is pretty incredible. You can make music without actual instruments, and you can record with simple equipment. Even at home, you can make a lot of music. It’s convenient, it’s cheap, it’s comfortable, and you’re not constrained by time like you are in renting a studio.
To get high home-recording results, one that is close to studio-quality, you have to consider a lot of things. Follow these tips to improve your home recordings:
Invest in proper equipment
You don’t have to buy the best microphone or have the best laptop. However, these things can help you with your recording. A good microphone should have clear preamps and minimize background noise. Good software should not have latency issues. Familiarize yourself with your recording gear before you start recording.
Record in a quiet environment
When you’re recording, noise is your main enemy. Eliminate any background noise like the sound of a fan, television, etc. Maybe put a sign to indicate that you are recording to warn other members of the household to keep their noise to a minimum.
Don’t wait to fix the noise or even other mistakes later when you’re mixing and mastering. Although you can polish the sounds, raw recordings should be good to begin with. Good recording is to good mixing, and vice versa.
Consider the room where you will record
While customizing a room for recording in your home is ideal, it’s not cheap. If you’re recording as a hobby, it’s also probably too much to use up a whole room. Instead, you can create a working space. Use a corner in your bedroom, living room, the basement, or any quiet space.
The size of the room and the dimensions can affect your sound. It might take some trials in different rooms until you find one that’s best. Compare the sounds and use your judgment to find the best space for recording.
Note that soft furnishing, like what you have in your bedroom, makes good dead spaces. Glass, windows, hardwood floor and other hard reflections are another factor to consider. It might cause the sounds to be muddy. You can also consider recording different things in different part of the house to get the sound you want. Explore around, experiment with the sounds and the rooms, and follow your ears.
Mic testing and positioning
Keep in mind that mic placement affects your recording significantly. Too far from the instrument or the vocalist means it could catch unwanted noise from the room. It could also make the vocal or instrument sound too weak and boxy. On the other hand, if it’s too close, you might capture breaths and pops. These things will be hard to fix later on.
Train your ears
Your recording is only as good as your ears. Put on headphone and listen to what sounds you are picking up. Playback your recordings while listening carefully and intently. Check the levels and the balances between vocals and instruments. Expensive equipment and software are nothing if you can’t identify with your ears what’s wrong.
Prepare yourself before recording
As we mentioned earlier, a great recording session often results to great mixes. That said, before recording, practice until you think you won’t make mistakes. Always check the tuning of your instruments and do vocal exercises and warm-ups. Do what it takes to make little to no mistakes while you are recording. Editing can improve your recording, but it also boils down to the music. In music, focus on the authenticity of the sound of instruments and your voice.
Music is often better when you share to the world. It ignites a lot of emotions, it inspires, and it has a lot of benefits. If you are a musician and you want to share your music, you don’t necessarily have to go to a studio. You can record your work within the walls of your home. These tips may be helpful to get you started with your home-recording, but ultimately your ear is your best tool. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Test and try recording in different rooms and follow what your ears like. That’s also one of the beauties of music.
Erin Taylor is the founder of YouthTune.Com, a music adventurer. I love learning about music and audio devices, which I eventually share with others so that they too can go on exploring the melodious world of music.